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Columnist James J. Kilpatrick dead at 89

Washington -- Conservative newspaper columnist James J. Kilpatrick has died of congestive heart failure at Washington's George Washington University hospital.

The Washington Post confirmed Kilpatrick's Sunday death at the age of 89.
The Oklahoma City-born scribe wrote for and edited The Richmond News Leader in Richmond, Va., in the 1950s and 1960s, and his syndicated column "A Conservative View" ran in hundreds of newspapers for nearly 30 years, starting in 1964. Kilpatrick is also known for his syndicated columns "Covering the Courts" and "The Writer's Art," as well as his frequent guest spots on TV's "60 Minutes."

"Before there was a Bill Buckley, before there was a Ronald Reagan or Rush Limbaugh, there was James Jackson Kilpatrick explaining public-policy issues from a conservative perspective," Richard Viguerie, a conservative youth group leader in the early 1960s who became a direct-mail pioneer for conservative political candidates, told the newspaper.

UPI reporter and editor Mike Kirkland, who covered the U.S. Supreme Court for many years, said he was saddened to hear about the death of his close friend.

"Jack was a pleasure to know and to work with at SCOTUS," Kirkland said Monday. "A deeply conservative guy, he had infinite patience with all us young libs, and a great sense of humor. ... He was one of the last truly great Washington gentlemen. We won't see his like again in the age of political vitriol."

A graduate of the University of Missouri's school of journalism, Kilpatrick was married to sculptor Marie Pietri, who died in 1997 and with whom he had three sons -- M. Sean Kilpatrick, Christopher Kilpatrick and Kevin Kilpatrick. He is also survived by his second wife, syndicated liberal columnist Marianne Means, four stepchildren, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, the Post said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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